Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Human Element


I remember it from almost ten years ago when I heard for the first time about software projects aimed to replace cashiers at supermarkets. Even the people who worked on developing these systems had doubts. One of them told me "Can you imagine? We are working on systems that will replace thousands of people. Those people will loose their jobs and this is the work I am doing."

By now these systems are there, self-service desks became a part of our reality. Just as social media, robotization, artificial intelligence and robotic seal pets for the elderly at some advances parts of the world.

At the same time alternative trends started to arise: minimalism to spite consumerism, down-shifting, urban gardens, digital nomad communities and people leaving everything behind to travel the world.

On the surface politicians are playing a very simple game with us. The biggest question of world politics is still otherness and anti-immiration laws while behind our backs, above our heads there is a much bigger change going on. 

The definition of work is getting redifined and through it a much bigger question arises: what will happen to the big "useless masses" if a big part of the jobs will get replaced by robotization and artificial intelligence? How will our everyday look like if we have all the time in the world and are not needed as workforce? These might be question of thirty-forty years ahead but would it not be better to think together instead of letting these changes just happen to us without having a say?

Instead of letting politicians and religious fanatics turn us against each other may be we could start to think together what kind of a world we want to live in. And about what creates real value for us? To have bigger profits (what not we but shareholders of companies or others will use and store up) by subsituting human workforce to a sensless limit? Or people who have jobs and families with a bigger buying force? To save money by ignoring environmental standars but pollute the air, the waters, let animal and plant species go extinct? Or to live in a world with cleaner air and oceans, knowing what we eat and use around us in our households? To hate each other and think of the other as lesser of? Or to celebrate our differences and seeing diversity as our shared richness?

One of the best attributes of the human element is that we can stop, listen and go beyond the surface. We can connect the dots and shape our environment creatively based on what we learned and how we want it to look like. I have hope for the future even if there are many doubtful trends and tendencies. I believe in humanity and goodness even if some of the trends make real animals of us. As technology and artificial intelligence will keep dominating our lives more and more, it will be our soul and consciousness what will win or loose the battle. It is time to tune in more, to work inwards, to use our platforms even more effectively and fight for a world where humanity will be a winner in the end.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

On hunt for fly agarics


Each year in September and October the hunt for fly agarics begins for me. I just love these mushrooms because they are so colorful, mystical and pretty. So when autumn comes I can not wait to find out where I will see the first of them that year. Usually it happens in Finland because the the climate is colder so they start to grow already in September.

Once we were on a hike with someone on Vallisaari and as we sat down to have a picnic I just discovered the first ones that year on the way to the picnic table. An other year as I was walking to Siwa in my street I looked by accident to a small stone cave under a garden and I saw three fly agarics there.
This year I saw the first ones in Tampere under a bush while walking to a nearby lake to see the squirells there.

These mushrooms are not only beautiful, they have been part of many myths and cultural ryths as well from the Celtic culture through the shamans of Siberia to the Viking fighters of the North. If you want to know more about the cultural history of them I highly recommend you to read this article because it is really interesting and thorough: Fly Agaric.

The fly agaric highlight for me this year were these merging fields of fly agarics in a pine forest in Hungary. I got the hint about this place earlier and I missed it two years in a row but not this year! We knew about this place in the family through acquintances who posted about the mushrooms three years ago. Here I would like to point out how important it is to live with open ears and eyes. Sometimes you get super amazing tips just by listening to others and paying attention. And mostly if people see that you are genuienly interested in nature and will not spam the whole internet with the exact location of the place they will gladly share secret local info with you.

 But enough from words now, voilá, this was that dream-like forest with this super abundance of fly agaric mushrooms. I really felt like being in a dream there. I hope the photos can give back at least a part of that atmosphere. (Clickable pics, to see them in a bigger format, please click on the photos.)